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Marty Krystall Marty Krystall

Born in 1951 and raised in Los Angeles, Marty's early interest in music was prompted at age 5 by chasing his baby brother in circles under a grand piano as their father played Chopin, Beethoven and Scriabin. His father also installed a remote loudspeaker in his bedroom so he could sleep with the classics, as well as music by Stravinsky, Shoenberg, Webern and other modernists. His first instrument was the clarinet, followed by saxophone in high school, and later flute and oboe. First jobs were in community opera orchestras and symphonies while still in grade school, but by this time Krystall also developed an interest in popular music and learned to transpose piano music on the Bb clarinet during lunch hour with piano players sight-reading pop, rock and jazz in the school auditorium. When he entered Venice High he joined their stage band on tenor and studied privately with Hollywood studio musicians Bill Green, Gary Gray and John Neufeld.

After graduating high school Marty moved to Venice beach, CA in 1968 and supported himself as a woodwind instructor at a music store and playing R&B and jazz gigs in Hollywood. By 1969 he was learning to master the tenor sax by practicing, rehearsing, instructing or performing 18 hours a day for several years. A typical day started at 11am, when the first rhythm section arrived. Musicians from south-central Los Angeles to the Hollywood and valley areas were all anxious to jam, even though Marty never had a gig. “In 1969 musicians of all ages and accomplishments were just into playing music, inspired by all of the great Blue Note and Impulse recordings by Trane and Miles and Gil Evans. I just tried to learn how to play hot and modern! It never occurred to me to get a jazz gig.” After lunch another rhythm section would arrive. Then after teaching for three hours at the music store Krystall made his R&B gig in Hollywood at the “Sould Out” club from 9pm till 2am. From there he drove to south central LA to “Hazel and Herb's” soul food restaurant - his after hours gig where there was a Hammond B-3 and often Ahmad Jamal's guitarist Calvin Keys. At 6am Hazel would serve an enormous breakfast and then he'd head home for a few hours sleep until the 11am jam session. He managed to keep this schedule for over two years!

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”Marty Krystall is one of the most passionate, powerfully swinging, and just plain unselfconsciously original players in all of jazz.” - Nat Hentoff

“I always thought of John Gilmore as having been the best of the lesser known tenor players in jazz - until I heard Marty Krystall.” - Bob Levin

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Founded the jazz department at CalArts in 1973, and led the Jazz Ensemble there from 1973-1976. Founded the Aspen Music Festival jazz studies dept. in 1972. Led the Saxophone Workshop at Rotterdam Conservatory. First jazz instructor at Mount Saint Marys College (Los Feliz) 1971. By appointment; $100 per lesson (1 hour minimum)

Clinic/Workshop Information

Founded the jazz department at CalArts in 1973, and led the Jazz Ensemble there from 1973-1976. Founded the Aspen Music Festival jazz studies dept

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